When you hear the word detox what is the first thing that comes to mind? Juice cleanse, expensive at-home kits with lots of supplements, colon cleanses… The list goes on. As a naturopathic doctor I see many people come into the office and state they have been thinking about doing a detox, but aren’t sure where or how to start. My first question is always, “why do you want to do a detox, and what would be the goals you hope to accomplish?” Most, if not all patients, share they want to detox for the following reasons:

  • To start fresh; detoxes are popular in the new year or spring time because they tend to be associated with a clean slate. However, there is no ‘right’ time to start a detox, you can start anytime
  • To improve their overall health and well-being
  • To lose weight, have more energy, or rid themselves of digestive symptoms
  • To cut cravings such as sugar

So, what exactly is a detox? 

A detox is just a word used to describe a nutrition and lifestyle change that involves avoiding sugar, and all things that turn into sugars in the body. Simply put, it’s out with the ‘bad’, and in with the good, with the goal of healing the body.

Some heath benefits of a detox:

Detoxes have lots of benefits including improving sleep and mood, reducing inflammation, which can be associated with pain in the joints, improving brain function and memory, clearing up skin issues, and increasing sex drive.

How to start: 

So do you need to go out to the health food store and buy a kit to accomplish a detox? The short answer is no. Anyone can start a detox by simply following a few steps.

  • Avoid processed, high-sugar containing foods for ideally 10 days. Stick to a whole foods diet, lots of veggies, fruits, proteins (meat or vegetable sourced), and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or quinoa.
  • Give up your ‘addictions’ such as coffee/caffeine, alcohol, sugar, fast food, etc.
  • Eat lots of protein! Protein comes from meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, etc.; for a full list, click here. You can also increase your protein intake by incorporating shakes or bars into your routine, just be mindful of sugar content.
  • Increase your fat content. You might be saying, wait what? Doesn’t fat make you fat? Well, no sugar makes you fat, healthy fats such as omega-3 containing foods, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, and avocados, actually balance blood sugars, give you energy, and keep you feeling satisfied.

Detoxification goals: 

By following these detox guidelines you can balance your blood sugars, cut your cravings, and support your liver in its ability to detoxify.

Detoxes aren’t meant to conjure up ideas of starvation or suffering. They should be thought of as way to kick-start and live a healthy lifestyle!

About the Author

Dr. Kate Klein is a licensed naturopathic doctor and clinic director at Your Health Collective, an integrative wellness clinic located in the heart of Ajax. Dr. Klein and her team offer services including, naturopathic medicine, holistic nutrition, acupuncture, osteopathy, and psychotherapy to patients of all ages. Practitioners at Your Health Collective provide a collaborative approach to patient care through a variety of natural treatments and solutions for health concerns ranging from disordered sleep, allergies, fertility, headaches, digestive concerns, and much more. We believe that health is more than just the absence of disease; health is when we function at our best through proper nutrition, exercise, a balanced lifestyle, positive emotions, thoughts and actions. For more information about Dr. Klein, naturopathic medicine, or our clinic please visit: www.yourhealthcollective.ca